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A Moonish Mars

A Moonish Mars

Image Title: A Moonish Mars
Source: Viking Orbiter


Even though Mars is the most Earthlike planet in the solar system, large expanses of its surface are very Moonlike in appearance. On coming across the Viking images that I used to create A Moonish Mars I was reminded of the first missions to Mars. The 22 photos returned by Mariner 4, the very first successful mission to Mars, were a shock to the scientific community. In these pictures craters predominated. The Mariner 6 and Mariner 7 missions that followed all returned images of a very Moon-like Mars. Unfortunately all three of these missions were nothing more than fly-bys of the planet with very limited opportunity to observe the surface. Also, because of the laws of orbital mechanics, all three missions targeted the same general regions of Mars. Fortunately we followed up these missions with an orbital mission: Mariner 9. The data collected and returned by Mariner 9 revolutionized our knowledge of Mars and overturned many of the false impressions created by the previous Mariner missions.

In constructing this picture, I felt that the image would have the greatest impact if presented with minimal, Moon-like colors. I feel that the use of minimal color for this image leads the viewer to have a heightened sense of awareness regarding the geologic morphology of the surface.

Source Image Background

Three separate Viking Orbiter 1 images were used to create A Moonish Mars. The region of Mars seen in the image is located at approximately 32S, 132W. The large crater with the central peak is Pickering Crater.

Image Processing

All processing associated with the creation of this image was done using Adobe Photoshop. Substantial processing was required in order to remove the noise, adjust the brightness and contrast of the individual frames, and airbrush the seams of the separate Viking Orbiter images that were composited together to form the final picture.

Wallpaper Download

I have created a low resolution, cropped version of A Moonish Mars for use as a desktop wallpaper. I am making this wallpaper available for your personal use only. It is not to be modified or redistributed in any form by any means. All rights are retained by the artist.

A Moonish Mars Wallpaper
A Moonish Mars, 1024 x 768 Wallpaper Image by Jim Plaxco

10x7.5 inch Print Available

A 10 inch by 7.5 inch print of a revised version of A Moonish Mars is available for purchase from the Mars Art Gallery Store hosted by

2005 Jim Plaxco,